The way I see it: Ann Harrison-Barnes

We introduce this series to give our writers an opportunity to share their own experiences and stories with you. Each one will offer a different perspective of the phrase, “the way I see it.” Blind since birth, Ann never lets her vision impairment stop her from accomplishing her goals. She used this attitude to make her dream of podcasting a reality.

I became fascinated with the written word as a young child. I love listening to stories and sharing them with others. My love for reading blossomed into my passion for writing, and I knew I wanted to do more with it. Even being totally blind because of Retrolental Fibroplasia, I wrote fiction, essays and poems for my blog, as well as successful freelance opportunities. I still wanted to learn more about how to hone my craft. Listening to my first podcast in 2015 gave me the desire to create my own. The idea of creating a solo podcast made me nervous, but I wouldn’t let my vision impairment stop me.

I researched many podcasts. I observed the way my favorite podcasters hosted their episodes. I made mental notes of which podcasting styles I wanted to use as examples for my own podcast. However, my research posed more questions. How did these podcast hosts record their episodes, what podcasting platform did they use, how did they distribute their shows to apps like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and many more?

One question nagged me: Why is it important for an author to start a podcast? Because of my research, I knew the audiobook industry was booming. What better way to get your voice inside the heads of potential readers and fans, than by starting your own podcast!

I prayed about my decision because I wanted my podcast to bring value to my listeners and to please the Lord. I ask God to give me the wisdom and the tools to start my podcast if it was in his plan for my life.

Not long after I spent my morning walks praying about the prospect of starting a podcast, I met my dearly beloved writing friend and fellow podcast host, Jen. She interviewed me for her Jen Lowry Writes podcast, using the anchor platform.

“I want to start my own podcast called Inspirational Journeys,” I said during our conversation.

 “Maybe that’s the next thing for you,” She replied. 

A chill ran down my spine. Was God speaking to me through her? My rational mind made me doubt my abilities. How am I supposed to record and distribute my podcast? Can I run a podcast on a tight budget?

After the interview, I connected with another blind author/podcast host in the Writing Community on Twitter. “Is the Anchor app accessible?” I asked in a direct message.

 “The App is fully accessible,” she tweeted back.

This information filled me with excitement. I believed I had my answer from God! He provided me with a way to run my podcast. I hit a lot of brick walls along the way, from stumbling over guest bios, to getting my podcast distributed across the seven other platforms that host it, aside from Anchor. With a little help from Jen and a lot of prodding from the Holy Spirit, I surpassed each brick wall.

Podcasting allows me to share my writing journey with listeners around the world and gives me the opportunity to connect with other authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs. As of this blog, I have recorded 100 episodes, and my listenership grows on a daily basis.

I listen to podcasts almost every evening, for pleasure, or for tips and tricks to help me become a better writer. Last spring’s Inspirational Journeys podcast launch gave me confidence in my abilities. I’ve learned that, if you’re willing to work for what you want, you can find a way to make it happen.